Museum designer has project in Shanghai

Otago Museum design services officer Shanaya Allan (right) and Li Nan, of the Shanghai Science...
Otago Museum design services officer Shanaya Allan (right) and Li Nan, of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, examine a horse skull within the new Otago Museum search centre. The pair are involved in the second staff exchange between the two...

Otago Museum's design services officer is heading to China to help develop a New Zealand exhibition for the brand new Shanghai Natural History Museum.

Shanaya Allan will leave Dunedin for Shanghai next week and spend three weeks working at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSTM). While there, she will work on an exhibition about the Chinese Year of the Horse (2014) as well as a New Zealand natural science exhibition, one of the first displayed in the new Natural History Museum, at present under construction.

Miss Allan (23) said she would be working on the design of the exhibition, which would focus on natural science ''through the eyes'' of the Maori legend of creation.

''I'll be looking at how we're going to display things and the materials we'll use. Everything has to be sourced from China, although the exhibits themselves are being transported from New Zealand.''

It would incorporate traditional, historic and contemporary pieces as well as NHNZ footage, she said.

Seals, penguins and birds were among items being prepared for the exhibition, which should open in July, a couple of months after the new museum was due to open.

Miss Allan's trip was part of a staff exchange programme between Otago Museum and the SSTM.

Li Nan, of the Shanghai museum, has been in Dunedin working at Otago Museum for two and a-half months through the exchange and will return to China in two weeks.

He and Miss Allan were the second lot of staff to temporarily swap cities through the programme, which was established in July 2011. It aimed to facilitate an exchange of ideas and practices in order to enhance both establishments, and provide staff with professional and personal development.

''I'm really excited about this amazing opportunity to travel to Shanghai and experience such a unique culture. I'm ready to learn from the team at the SSTM and bring lots of great new ideas back to the Otago Museum,'' Miss Allan said.

She will also visit Beijing and Singapore on her way back to New Zealand, and hoped to explore museums in both cities.

- rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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